The Guidogram round-up of the week is going out shortly.
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Guido was wondering how long it would take for Alastair Campbell’s outside interests to crop up now he is back helping out Miliband. Turns out just a few hours. Labour have wasted no time sticking the boot into Scottish Power after they put up energy prices by 8.6% this afternoon. Who does Scottish Power’s PR? That would be Mad Al’s very own Portland Communications. Cosy…
Readers will remember the case of John Larsen, the LibDem councillor charged with being responsible for a series of bombs that had blown up cars and damaged homes in his town. Larsen himself condemned the bomber:
“Everyone is jittery, checking their cars. It’s driving people round the bend. You just don’t know when or where it’s going to happen next and that’s why people are so frightened.”
But today a jury found him guilty of three counts of arson, one of causing an explosion likely to endanger life and another of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life, including blowing up a Land Rover. Another LibDem going down…
A typical day in the European Parliament as MEPs get ready for a vote. But there is a problem. One MEP stands up and explains that the room has no idea what it is voting on, as they haven’t yet been given a chance to read the alterations to the amendments about to be passed. The response?
“This is the way we do things here.”
Of course it is.
Nick Clegg is having a bit of a shocker today. Call Clegg went as badly as ever, with Nick Ferrari listing unqualified teachers from the LibDem leader’s own school days.
“But you were taught by people who didn’t have these qualifications? Mr Cogan your English teacher? Do you remember Mr Cogan? A former Royal Marine. He didn’t have this relevant piece of paper. A gentleman called David Cook. I don’t know if you remember Mr Cook. Mr Cook studied history. He was at Westminster, he as in charge of tuition into Oxford and Cambridge. He didn’t have the piece paper. Theo Zinn who was a classics teacher, do you remember Mr Zinn at your school? Remember Mr Zinn, fantastic classics teacher who often would ignore the books on the A level curriculum if there were ones he thought were better for the pupils.”
Which was pretty awkward. Next up was Clegg’s speech on free schools. Where he invited ridicule by deviating from his chosen subject and confessing he doesn’t think his mobile phone is being tapped by a foreign power, a la Merkel. Well obviously.
Best left to Lord Sugar to sum up Clegg’s week:
Clegg is an embarrassment to coalition for his gaffs.I don't have and don't want a free bus pass.I pay for my TV Licence as I am 66 not 75—
Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) October 22, 2013
Why doesn't Cameron silence this idiot Clegg . How many more gaffs can he spout off on TV . Makes the coalition look like a joke—
Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) October 22, 2013
To which Clegg hit back this morning:
“He’s slightly thin-skinned. He drives around in this great big Bentley on primetime television, he wafts around the House of Lords in ermine, and then he seems to be very offended when I point out that he has got a bob or two. I don’t see why someone like him should be entitled to a winter fuel payment. No doubt, having said that, I will get another torrent of classic Sugar tweet-abuse this morning.”
Going well then…
Ofcom has upheld complaints made by Tory MP Rob Wilson against the BBC and ITV over Lord McAlpine. Here are their findings on just how Philip Schofield came to flash the names of alleged ‘political paedophiles’ at the camera live on air during an interview with the PM:
“A brief search on Google revealed various articles, blogs and posts repeatedly naming a number of senior political figures alleged to have been connected with child abuse. ITV said that Mr Schofield had spent approximately two hours reading this material. Mr Schofield formulated the idea, in the context of discussing the prospect of an overarching inquiry into the various child abuse scandals, of handing the Prime Minister a list of the individuals that he had repeatedly seen named online, to illustrate the fact that there was widespread speculation on the internet about these individuals, and to ask the Prime Minister for his view about it.”
Costing ITV £125,000.
Rob Wilson is meanwhile twisting the knife into the BBC, telling Guido:
“The BBC has shown itself to be utterly two-faced. While being fulsomely apologetic in public and paying off Lord McAlpine with licence fee payers’ money, behind the scenes the BBC has been fighting tooth and nail against the charges that it breached the relevant broadcasting rules. If the BBC had its way, it would be completely open to broadcasters to smear individuals in the same way in future.”
Meet Linda McAvan, Labour MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber. She is currently in charge of attempts to push through medicinal regulation of e-cigarettes through the European Parliament. Showing just what a bastion of democracy the European Parliament is, Linda hosted a Facebook Q&A session on the issue this week, where the idea was that she could be held to account by citizens across the continent. Which is all well and good, except it seems the event was a complete stitch-up.
Linda was lucky to receive a number of soft questions, which she answered comfortably. Just which inquisitive European citizens asked the questions? For starters there was Laura Guiot, a consultant working at the European Parliament. Then there was Evita Naumova, of the European Parliament network. And Celine Bras from the EU information office. Not to mention Martina Klugova, who also works for the European Parliament. No wonder the questions were so easy. Democracy in action!
Alastair Campbell tells Total Politics he will help Labour in the run up to 2015, admitting he advised Miliband on his conference speech and fight with the Mail.
“Yeah, probably, but I don’t know to what extent or how. It’s been really weird here, having all these Tories saying, ‘You’ve got to get in… you should’, it’s like they want a bit of a… Both at Labour and here I’ve had people saying, ‘You’ve got to get involved’. I will get involved… I talk to Ed a lot. I talked to him about his speech, the Dacre thing, you know. He phones me a lot and so do some of the others.”
As readers of Guido’s Sun on Sunday column found out three weeks ago:
“BAD Al is back! Alastair Campbell was overheard at a boozy party during the Tory conference in Manchester boasting about missed calls from Ed Miliband’s grouchy strategy chief Tom Baldwin. When Tom was a journalist and Campbell was Blair’s spin-doctor, Baldwin was his favourite mouthpiece and poison spreader. Now it seems they are getting the old band back together, with Campbell directing Baldwin and Miliband on Labour’s strategy over the row about his Marxist father. Miliband claims Labour have learnt from the past and operate in a “different” way now, yet the old faces don’t match the words.”
As Ed said when he became leader: “The new generation of Labour is different. Different attitudes, different ideas, different ways of doing politics.”
Bercow’s £12,000 of VIP Sporting Freebies | Sun
Aldous Huxley v George Orwell | FatPita
Blinkered BBC is Ripe for Reform | David Keighley
Calls for Bercow to Face Inquiry | Mail
Labour Mad to Fight Tories on Tax | Dan Hodges
Right to be Forgotten is a Disaster | Padraig Reidy
Dave Could Be Finished Before 50 | James Forsyth
Why Do Politicians Keep Getting Caught on Tape? | BBC
Ed Guru: It’s Good to Tax the Dead | Mail
Dave Must Get Serious or He Will Lose | Tim Montgomerie
Polling Averages Trend | PoliticalBetting.com
Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:
“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”
What time will dinner be ready this evening?
Rob Wilson MP
In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.